(From Lutron's Website)
This past September, Lighting control pioneer Lutron Electronics announced the integration of its RadioRA 2 lighting control systems with Amazon Alexa, providing convenient voice-activated control of lights, shades, and temperature. HomeWorks QS and RadioRA 2 systems can be controlled from anywhere inside or outside the home from system keypads, a mobile device, the Lutron Pico remote control, and select third-party devices. And now, customers with an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, or Amazon Fire TV can control these systems using their voice.
Earlier this year, Lutron announced the integration of Amazon Alexa with its Caséta Wireless system.
Adding voice-activated scene and room control to Lutron systems is an ideal match for homeowners looking to use this popular new technology. Alexa-enabled devices are great for areas where people spend the majority of their time, like the family room and kitchen. Whether you’re watching TV, helping the kids with homework, or entertaining friends, all of these events are more relaxing and comfortable in the right light, which can now be easily controlled by the sound of your voice.
Getting the house ready for a dinner party? Simply say, “Alexa, turn on Dinner Party,” and watch as lights, shades and temperature are set to their ideal levels.
“Asking Alexa to control your lights is undeniably powerful and can simplify things like coming home with arms full of groceries,” said Ed Blair, Lutron vice-president and general manager, who also noted the product’s usefulness to the aging in place community. “For people with limited mobility, voice technology can restore some freedom once taken for granted – like easily moving about to set the lights, shades and temperature. Smart home products are not just about the wow factor anymore – they’re changing peoples’ lives.”
“We’ve heard from do-it-yourselfer customers that they love the current Lutron Caséta support for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.” said Charlie Kindel, Director, Amazon Alexa. “Now with support for their HomeWorks and RadioRA 2 systems, more customers can experience the magic of using voice to control the lights, scenes, and shades. Lutron provides a high-quality, easy set-up solution for our Alexa customers, and we can’t wait for them to try out the new offerings later this year.”
And according to Blair, the powerful Pico remote, which can be mounted to a wall without wiring or affixed to a tabletop pedestal, is ideal for times when talking to Alexa just isn’t possible, like when kids are sleeping or you’re in the middle of an important phone call. “Lutron has worked hard to make sure all situations are covered,” he said.
Configuration of voice control requires the Lutron Connect app.
If you have a team that is capable of installing products, but they might need some direction, design, or workflow help, we offer our consulting services to guide your team while saving some money in the process.
We offer these services a la carte...
1. DESIGN: We can design a system for you, whether it's lighting, sound, video, digital displays, camera system, or a multi-system design, we can work with you to design what you need for your budget.
2. PURCHASING: Purchase your product from us and great pricing that is competitive with the internet. We can recommend the best, high-quality brands that you want to use, while advising against brands that may not be up to your standards. There are often "budget-friendly" options that won't break the bank, but still are a quality product. We can help you make the best decisions when it comes to these investments.
3. CONSULTING FEES: Fees will vary depending on how much or how little you want us to be involved in your project. You decide. If your team can install the product than that means savings for you.
4. WHAT'S INCLUDED: You choose what is included in your package. We can design workflow maps for your team, provide tech support, and can even include on-site visits.
5. ADDITIONAL OPTIONS: The traditional services of installation and/or training are still available to you as well and can be added as needed.
Our company invests into the knowledge and skill of our staff through on-the-job training, expos, trade shows, vendor training, and more. We have built good relationships with our distributors and suppliers, they help us to stay informed on product changes and support, this relationship benefits you, our customer as well. With over 15 years in business, Carters has worked hard to stay up-to-date on current product, to stay educated, and informed. Let us do the work for you. Contact us today for more information.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON LICENSING
Many churches don't have a good general understanding of licensing for music and video use. It is important to educate yourself and attain the proper licensing for the music and video use within your services. There is a misconception that because a church is non-profit then that exempts them from having to pay licensing fees for music, this is incorrect. There is a basic license from CCLI that will give you a license just for using specific songs in your worship sets during your services. Branching out into other areas may require licensing that you did not realize you needed. This includes using video clips during sermons or playing movies for youth night, live streaming music that is not original to your band, and many more.
Churches sometimes assume that playing and recording previously written worship music is a universal right that should be free, this is incorrect. There is only two ways to avoid licensed music. The first is to use music from the public domain, which you can see HERE. The second is to write your own, original worship songs.
LIVE STREAMING LICENSE
One of the biggest media challenges that churches are facing today is live streaming. Live streaming requires it's own unique license. Just because your church may have a license to perform worship music live doesn't mean you have the appropriate license for broadcasting that music over the internet. You must have a specific license to show your worship music set online through recording or live streaming. You can get more info about a license for that HERE. Many churches solve this problem by not recording or streaming their worship music portion of their service, they only record or broadcast the sermon message. These are really your only two options, either you must purchase the annual license or avoid broadcasting your music worship set online.
Obviously thousands of churches get away with not having that license every year, I understand it's an added expense that they want to try to avoid. Many people think that all Christian music should be free, I understand their point of view as well to some level, but is it a selfish point of view? I know a Christian songwriter and his family. He has had one big huge hit that was recorded by a well-known Christian artist and has written many more songs as well. He is not a millionaire by any means. He works as a songwriter and worship leader, loves his family and gives back to his community. He often gets away on retreats by himself or with other songwriters to seek God, pray, and write. He then returns and releases God's words or his own personal revelations through his music which very often moves into a worship music setting or even to radio play. When you pay your licensing fees, that is what you are supporting, think of it in those terms, it really is a ministry to the songwriters who seek God and release those songs for us to enjoy.
To read more information about Licensing , see this excellent article from Christian Copyright Solutions.
“LED Video Wall” is a generic term for a large size video display device made up of Light Emitting Diodes (LED.) Also called just Video Walls, they are usually made up of modules that seamlessly connect to each other, and together work as one large display.
Some of the advantages to choosing Carters Digital LED display panels include...
- The brightness - they are not effected by the amount of sunlight or ambient light that may be in your space or even outdoors like projectors are. They display great, bright images.
- Flexibility - Because they come in smaller panels, they can be put together in almost any configuration or size
- Weatherproof - They come in an outdoor model to use for signage or outdoor video.
- 1080p image capability - Several different resolutions are offered giving you flexible pricing and options for your application.
- Great Service after the sale - Our panels are made so that if any of the LEDs were to go out, they can be easily changed out and replaced.
Large display devices like this have been around for 30 or more years, although at their introduction they cost millions of dollars and were found only at large sports parks and outdoor events that could afford their high price tag. All of this has changed and LED walls have become remarkably affordable for even mid-size church organizations. In some cases, where large format, bright projection is being considered, LED walls are an option that makes financial sense.
There are other types of video walls, including the type made up of a mosaic of screens connected together to form one large screen. While these can grow to be extremely high resolution, their drawback is that there is a border frame around each module. Some of the more expensive units have very narrow borders, but are still visible. With LED walls, we do not have border frames, as the LEDs extend all the way to the edge of each unit. The edges are machined accurately, so when joining to the next piece, there is no gap visible to the audience, resulting in one large seamless video experience.
LED video display panels are the future of video, they will eventually replace projectors and screens. With Carters you have the added benefit of our many years of experience in working with image display and video. We are the video company offering our LED digital display panels to those looking for a high-quality, lower cost product for indoor or outdoor video. Click Here to request more information.
Today we’ll be talking about the new signature series speakers offered from Episode.
The new “Signature” series from Episode boasts not only a stunning new look, but a clear, clean, and sharp sound. They come in 4”, 6”, and 8” versions for in-ceiling, and 6” and 8” options for in wall set ups. Though they’re roughly the same size as their predecessor, their new housing is much cleaner to work with and offers better insulation and sound control to keep sound from bleeding through the back of the speaker.
Episode engineering has also redesigned the way the tweeter sits inside the cone. In the older series, the tweeter would sit in a bracket that could dampen sound, but this new model has built somewhat of a pedestal that the tweeter rests on in the center of the cone. With the “Precision Tweeter”, it has the same full range of motion the older ones had, but it is much more durable in this position and much more flexible. With a ±15 degree tilt and a ±180 degree twist, it’ll be able to send those highs where ever you need them. Additionally, the tweeter rests in a broader cone, improving the acoustics of the highs, while the overall structure boosts the performance of the mids and lows.
The new woofer is much more durable with a ribbed surround that allows controlled oscillation without dampening sound. Moreover, the slightly brushed titanium surface of the cone gives the speaker and very minimalist look, reminiscent of sleek new technology we see in our pockets and in our laptop bags, while boosting clarity of mid and low mid ranges.
And keeping in line with the new minimalist look is a super sleek, thin bezel. This is one thin bezel. Measuring only a 1/8” thick, this bezel will barely be noticed. It has a lightly magnetized rim to fit closely with to the speaker and is extremely easy to remove or install.
Finally of course, it keeps the things we love about the old ones, like the twist screws for easy and quick installation ‘tension dogs’ for quick locking, tight grip in just a quarter turn and of course a lifetime warranty. Some other features we think you’ll love:
We are going to be posting a series of blogs over the next few weeks about live streaming. There are many things to consider and prepare for as you began to look into what it takes to live stream as a church or business:
1. Who is going to run it? Do you have staff in place now that have the technical skill it takes to run the system every time? Will you hire someone to manage the live streaming? Live streaming is a very difficult process, you must have a designated person prepared to manage the stream and they must also have some technical experience to troubleshoot issues and good planning skills to be prepared for the broadcast beforehand.
2. What kind of computer do you (or will you) have? Is your computer more than 2 years old? Is it a Mac or PC? If you are planning to buy a new computer for streaming what platform do you prefer? You should plan on having a designated computer just for your video/live streaming purposes. There are some significant differences between Mac and PC that you should know and understand (additional blog post on this coming soon).
3. What kind of internet connection do you have? Do you have a good broadband internet connection? Chances are you may have one good enough for office use, but broadcasting is much more demanding for both download and upload speeds. Before you can do anything for streaming, you should check your internet's quality at speedtest.net. This will give you some idea of whether or not you can even get started with your broadcast.
4. What is your budget? As with everything, the amount of money you have to spend really dictates everything else. Video switchers can add quite a bit of cost to the system, so you may want to start without one if your budget is small. Camera cost can grow your budget as well, starting with just one camera gives you less options, but keeps your cost down.
5. What equipment do you already have that can be incorporated? Do you currently have cameras? How old are your cameras? The type of connections on your current camera(s) is a key factor in deciding how to move forward. The older connections of BNC and RCA are almost obsolete now. In the video world almost everything is moving to HD/SDI connections for the best possible performance.
6. What is the purpose and end goal of the video? What are you trying to accomplish with video streaming? and what type of image do you want to project? Are you wanting to do a 1080p broadcast? Do you want to stream and record at the same time? Where do you want your video to be broadcast? Local or worldwide?
7. Do your homework: It's good to keep learning about what others are doing. Knowledge is the key to progression in this process. The internet is truly a magnificent resource for learning not just how to use the hardware for broadcasting, but also what effective broadcasting is. Because a 'good' broadcast can look different to everyone, finding both what you like and how to get there is key to meeting your own expectations. Google can be used for searching through forums and there are an innumerable amount of churches who have posted videos to YouTube and Vimeo about what they do for their services.
In today's technological world, live streaming has become a key component in getting the message out to the masses. However, live streaming can be a monumental task to take on and can cost several thousands of dollars. Spend your money wisely by being educated and prepared. With planning and thought, the transition will be smoother and your budget will go farther for longer.
Don't forget to call Carters AV today for a free quote on your live streaming system!
In the last 6 months, the Behringer X32 digital mixer has been the most popular-selling mixer at our company. For churches and other venues looking for live sound equipment, the X32 has so many great features at a great price. With a MAP price of $2799, it is has an abundance of features available so that you could get rid of some of your older equipment and see it combined all into one great package. It has all of the basic features you would expect from a digital mixer such as motorized faders, built-in effects, and saved "scenes", but there are also other great options such as ipad control, recording. and in-ear monitor capabilities that make it an even greater savings.
SMART CONTROL: With the Ipad/Iphone control system you can run the mixer from the congregation, from the stage, from anywhere. Move around the room to check your levels or just control the sound from the stage during a practice or service, anything is possible. "Native Ethernet control enables remote operation by computer, iPad or iPhone over a wired or wireless network, across the room – or across the planet!" - Behringer's website
RECORDING: A great plus, the X32 has the ability to record on every channel FOR LATER MIXDOWN. You can also output to a USB card for later editing or transferring to another computer software program for mastering or adding to a CD. "Record and play back up to 32 tracks, which run on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 operating systems or Mac computers via USB 2.0 connectivity. X32 supports 44.1 and 48 kHz sample rates at 24-Bit, allowing you to record up to 32 tracks of live audio directly to your computer for mixing down later. " - Behringers Website
IN-EAR MONITORING: (Compare the complete Aviom In-Ear monitoring system at $5399 for a 6-person setup.) There are two ways that the X32 can offer in-ear monitoring. With the first, a band can utilize ipads and iphones to connect to their monitor channels on the mixer and make adjustments themselves. With added headphone amplifiers and headphones, this system can be utilized as an in-ear monitoring setup. Behringer also offers Personal monitor boxes that can control the monitoring system with headphones as well. This second option requires the purchase of a PM for each band member and a set of headphones. At $249.99 each, Behringer's Personal monitor boxes are the best deal on the market right now for personal monitors.
If you are considering a Behringer X32 for your live sound solution, contact Carters AV for the best price, setup, and training. Call us for a free consultation. Visit Behringer's website for more information.
Blackmagic designs has released a new camera this year that is a great option for church broadcast recording. As an official dealer for Black MAgic, Carters AV can offer excellent pricing and package offers for your needs. Call or email us for a FREE consultation or quote 479-646-5901.
From Black Magic's website:
Introducing Blackmagic Studio Camera, the world’s most advanced broadcast camera for live production! Inside its incredibly tough, lightweight magnesium alloy body you get a massive 10” viewfinder, 4 hour battery, talkback, tally indicators, phantom powered microphone connections and built in optical fiber and SDI connections that let you connect to your switcher with a single cable! The Blackmagic Studio Camera is available in HD and Ultra HD models, and is packed with all the advanced features you need for multi camera production and broadcast!
Designed for Live ProductionPerfect for outdoor and indoor live production:
Now you can produce multiple camera live production in any location! The super bright large viewfinder and compact size of the Blackmagic Studio Camera makes it perfect for talk shows, sitcoms and broadcast news in the studio, or even live concerts and sporting events. The incredible lightweight compact design, foldable sunshade and interchangeable lenses mean you can pack an entire multi camera live production rig into a single road case! Because it’s so easy to setup and use, the Blackmagic Studio Camera is also perfect for corporate AV departments, houses of worship, schools and more!
Revolutionary DesignAdvanced technology in a compact, rugged design:
The Blackmagic Studio camera features a compact and durable magnesium alloy body that is packed with innovative technology, making it the most rugged, portable and advanced studio camera in the world. You get a huge 10” viewfinder with sunshade for optimal viewing and control, a flexible MFT mount that gives you more lens options than any other studio camera, multiple mounting points and professional broadcast connections. Designed with the latest miniaturization technology and features, the Blackmagic Studio Camera is the world’s most advanced camera that's specifically designed for multiple camera live production.
Ultra HDOver 4 times the size of 1080HD!
Ultra HD is the broadcast standard of the future and 4K content is already being delivered to consumers today through web video channels like YouTube and Vimeo. New Ultra HD displays deliver a picture that has 4 times the resolution of 1080 HD, that’s a massive 3840 x 2160 pixels! From the newsroom to live sporting and theatrical events, there’s no faster way to capture the beauty and realism of Ultra HD 4K than to record a live switched program with Blackmagic Studio Cameras!
Micro Four Thirds Lens MountSupports the worlds best broadcast lenses
The Blackmagic Studio Camera features an active Micro Four Thirds lens mount that is compatible with an incredibly wide range of lenses and adapters. You can use your existing photo lenses for smaller setups or fixed camera use, or then bolt on incredible broadcast ENG lenses for large live broadcasts. Third party lens adapters let you connect to all kinds of lens mounts for any type of lens you choose, and you can even add feature film PL mount lenses, allowing you to customize your camera to suit any size production!
Large 10” Full HD ViewfinderSee every pixel in amazing detail
The Blackmagic Studio Camera includes the worlds largest viewfinder built in! The massive 10” high resolution screen has a super wide viewing angle and the large viewing area lets you see amazing detail so you can frame, focus, change iris settings, and make subtle adjustments, even when you’re live on air.
Bi-Directional Optical FiberGet video, audio, talkback and tally over long distances
The Blackmagic Studio Camera is the world’s first to include a built in fiber optic connection, allowing you to use a single thin tether cable to connect cameras to your live production switchers. The optical fiber connection is bi-directional and carries HD or Ultra HD video with embedded audio, talkback, tally and even camera remote control. And because it uses standard, low cost fiber optic cable, you can connect cameras over massive distances almost anywhere, even at the largest outdoor venues.
Built In TalkbackUse professional aviation headsets
The Blackmagic Studio Camera features built in talkback so the camera operator and crew can communicate at all times during production. You get general aviation headset connections so you can choose from a wide range of aviation headsets, so you get better quality talkback headsets with better noise canceling and a much lower cost. Setup is easy because talkback is embedded in the optical or SDI video connection to the camera, so you don’t have to run separate talkback cables!
Illuminated TallyKnow when you’e on air!
The Blackmagic Studio camera supports the tally SDI standard used on the ATEM range of live production switchers. This means the tally from the switcher is broadcast to all cameras from all video outputs of the ATEM switcher and it’s sent to the Blackmagic Studio Camera via the program video connection. Tally lights illuminate automatically when your camera is live, and will stay illuminated during multiple camera transitions. With a light on the front for talent, and a light above the viewfinder for the operator, cast and crew can easily see which cameras are on air.
Broadcast Grade ConnectionsProfessional connections for 24/7 reliability
Featuring broadcast quality connections you get bi-directional optical fiber and SDI connections for connecting to live production switchers or recorders. Also included is a professional aviation headsets jack, stereo XLR microphone inputs, and more. All connections are logically organized on the left and right sides of the camera, making them accessible and easy to use. Because the Blackmagic Studio Camera uses standard connectors, you don’t need expensive custom cables!
Integrated Control PanelEasy access buttons for the most important settings
Quickly and easily access the most important controls using the built in row of buttons below the viewfinder. You can adjust iris and focus control with the touch of a button, activate talkback, or even see return video. Dedicated buttons let you switch between film and video modes, display safe area markers, and turn on menu controls to change camera settings. The integrated push button control panel gives you complete camera control at the touch of a button!
Remote Camera ControlFull camera control from your switcher!
Now you can remote control your camera! The Blackmagic Studio Camera can be remotely controlled from your ATEM live production switcher via the SDI connections for more professional production. The Blackmagic Studio camera also has a full DaVinci Resolve primary color corrector so you can color balance your cameras as well as add creativity to your live production. All settings in the camera can be controlled including color, full lens control, camera settings and more, all remotely from the live production switcher. That leaves you free to focus on the shot!
Massive 4 Hour BatteryCover the whole event on a single charge!
The Blackmagic Studio Camera might be small, but it includes a massive battery that will power the camera for over 4 hours! This means you can run a simple optical fiber tether to remote locations and the camera is fully powered and self contained with full talkback, tally and return program feed. That’s perfect for live sports and other events where the cameras are long distances away from the switcher. When it’s time to connect power, an industry standard 12V 4 pin XLR power connector is built in for better strength and compatibility.
External or Built in MicrophonesProfessional audio live from the camera!
For productions that require live location sound, you can use the built in stereo microphone or plug in professional external microphones, even with phantom power, into the camera’s XLR connectors! This gives you fantastic quality live audio from your cameras and is super critical when covering live sports! Camera audio is automatically embedded with the video signal for connection to the ATEM live production switcher’s built in audio mixer.
View Program VideoMonitor program video on the viewfinder
The Blackmagic Studio camera lets you view program video from your live production switcher at the press of a button! Simply press the camera’s PGM button and the viewfinder will display the program video feed from your switcher, turning the viewfinder into a large SDI monitor! You can even use the program SDI input to view playback from a local HyperDeck recorder when using the Blackmagic Studio Camera for recording.
Huge Range of AccessoriesBuild the ultimate Studio Camera
Blackmagic Studio Camera includes everything you need for live production all in a single self contained solution. However when you want to add large lenses, or smooth professional tripods then you can select from a massive range of third party accessories. With industry standard connectors, interchangeable lenses, and multiple mounting points you can customize the camera for any type of production using a virtually limitless selection of third party accessories.
Wow! What an exciting new year! In the world of Presentation software, it is a landmark day...more exciting tools to help you get those images on the screen.
I received a notice in my inbox this morning that Media Shout Version 5 is being released. Now personally, after over 15 years of worship ministry, I am a big fan of using ProPresenter over MediaShout, even though we are dealers for both. However, there are some advantages to using MediaShout. They are promoting some great new features that made me take a second look and so should you. Here are some of the features that stood out to me:
Go check it our HERE and see for yourself. The upgrade price to this new version is $219 and the new purchase price is $399.
BUT WAIT...Thats not all. I go over to ProPresenter's website and BEHOLD, they have released a CLOUD version...Wha...? Is that their answer to MediaShout 5? This is a great idea! At our church, the media person works on ProPresenter at home then brings up her thumb drive on Sunday mornings with everything on it. This new cloud version could be a great solution for us and for other churches that have volunteers setting up their presentations. Monthly plans start at $12.
Either way you go, both of these programs are easy to use and great for presentations. How do you pick? You need to decide what is best for your church, what are your needs? Who is setting up and running your presentations? Is it a paid staff person or a volunteer? It's always about the people and making Sunday mornings as stress-free as possible. I will do a more complete review on both products very soon.
If you need any help with recommendations, if you want to purchase the software or need training, CALL US. We are direct dealers for both products and will put together a package price with set-up and training. 479-646-5901
Netflix has been around our house for several years now. We started with the DVD rental a few years back, then moved to streaming only. This past year I upgraded our ATT Uverse internet to the maximum so that we could all stream live at the same time. That seems to be what happens at our house on a daily basis. We only have one main TV in our house, so that often means the parents will be watching something on Netflix in the living room while one kid is watching it on her Ipad in her room and the other kid is watching Netflix on his computer in his room...now thats a lot of bandwidth!
With the expansion of smart TV systems, online viewing has become commonplace. Netflix has always been our top app choice for watching movies and TV, even though finding those movies can sometimes be very difficult in their search system. The best option is to do a search online for the top Netflix movies and you will find a list, then you can search it on the Netflix app and find it. The app also has the ability to add users and restrict accounts for your children so they can only access movies and shows that you approve.
Below is a list of our family's top ten favorite TV Series' :
Our authors are technicians who have had dozens of years of experience in the A/V industry. Click HERE to submit a question.